2021 Reith Lectures: Living With Artificial Intelligence
The Reith Lectures were inaugurated in 1948 by the BBC to mark the historic contribution made to public service broadcasting by Sir John (later Lord) Reith, the corporation's first Director-General.
John Reith maintained that broadcasting should be a public service which enriches the intellectual and cultural life of the nation. It is in this spirit that the BBC each year invites a leading figure to deliver a series of lectures on radio. The aim is to advance public understanding and debate about significant issues of contemporary interest.
The very first BBC Reith lecturer was the philosopher, Bertrand Russell who spoke on "Authority and the Individual". Among his successors were Arnold Toynbee (The World and the West, 1952), Robert Oppenheimer (Science and the Common Understanding, 1953) and J.K. Galbraith (The New Industrial State, 1966). The Reith lectures have also been delivered by the Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks (The Persistence of Faith, 1990), Dr Steve Jones (The Language of Genes, 1991), Michael Sandel (A New Citizenship, 2009), Martin Rees (Scientific Horizons, 2010) and Aung San Suu Kyi and Eliza Manningham-Buller (Securing Freedom, 2011). Most recently the Reith Lecturers have been Niall Ferguson (The Rule of Law and Its Enemies, 2012), Grayson Perry (Playing to the Gallery, 2013), Dr. Atul Gawande (The Future of Medicine, 2015), Stephen Hawking (Black Holes, 2016), Kwame Anthony Appiah (Mistaken Identities, 2016) and Hilary Mantel (Resurrection: The Art and Craft, 2017).
Lecture recordings (BBC)
- The Biggest Event in Human History
- AI in Warfare
- AI in the Economy
- AI: A Future for Humans
Articles, reviews, and interviews
- The Guardian: 'Yeah, we're spooked: AI starting to have big real-world impact, says expert, by Nicola Davis, October 29, 2021.
- The Guardian: AI needs regulating before it's too late, editorial, November 1, 2021.
- BBC Radio 4: Reith Lectures: AI and why people should be scared, by Rory Cellan-Jones, November 29, 2021.
- The Guardian: The week in audio: The Reith Lectures, by Miranda Sawyer, December 25, 2021.
- Church Times: Radio review: Reith Lectures, by Edward Wickham, December 10, 2021.
- Prospect: How dangerous is AI? This year's Reith Lectures force us to confront the unknowability of the hyper-intelligent machine, by Philip Ball, December 22, 2021.
- The Guardian: Scared about the threat of AI? It's the big tech giants that need reining in, by Devdatt Dubhashi and Shalom Lappin, December 16, 2021.
- The Guardian: Worried about super-intelligent machines? They are already here, by John Naughton, December 25, 2021.
- The Herald (Scotland): AI, Peppa Pig and Boris Johnson, by Teddy Jamieson, December 3, 2021.